Ontogeny of secretory immunity: levels of secretory IgA and natural antibodies in saliva

Pediatr Res. 1980 Oct;14(10):1111-4. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198010000-00004.


In 187 healthy subjects from 2 months to 27 years of age, secretory IgA and free secretory component were assayed in samples of whole saliva obtained before and after stimulation with lemon juice. Antibody titers against Escherichia coli O antigens and against rabbit erythrocytes were also dosed in unstimulated saliva. Secretory IgA, undetectable in newborns, was present in all 2-month-olds tested in both unstimulated and stimulated saliva; thereafter secretory IgA levels increased progressively, reaching adult values by 6 to 8 years in unstimulated saliva and already by 2 to 4 years in stimulated saliva. The antibody titers assessed in unstimulated saliva followed a similar pattern also reaching adult values by 6 to 8 years. On the other hand, free secretory component levels showed no significant variation with age in unstimulated saliva whereas a slight increase was observed in the first year of life in stimulated saliva.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies / analysis*
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin A / analysis*
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / analysis*
  • Infant
  • Saliva / immunology*
  • Secretory Component / analysis


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin A
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Secretory Component